The Hudson River School

Primary Source Set

The Hudson River school was an artistic movement that often held up a romantic vision that humanity and nature can exist together peacefully. The American landscape—and its grandiosity—is the school’s predominant subject. Visions of the Hudson Valley, as well as naturalistic scenes from across the United States and beyond, are depicted in the paintings. Thomas Cole is widely considered the founder of the movement; Homer Dodge Martin, Frederick Edwin Church, and Albert Bierstadt are some of the most notable first- and second-generation Hudson River school painters. While the Hudson River school artists were American, many European artists picked up the themes of their work. Few women were part of the movement, although some, like Eliza Pratt Greatorex, were influenced by it. One offshoot of the Hudson River school was the Luminism movement, and many second-generation artists’ works are examples of both.

Additional resources for research

  1. The Hudson River School, The Metropolitan Museum of Art.
  2. The Hudson River School: Nationalism, Romanticism, and the Celebration of the American Landscape, Virginia Tech.
  3. A Brief History of Nature and the American Consciousness, Nature and American Identity, University of Virginia.

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